Presentation on theme: "Women in Early America Production vs. reproduction Public vs. private The upsurge of fear: The Salem Witch Trials."— Presentation transcript:
Women in Early America Production vs. reproduction Public vs. private The upsurge of fear: The Salem Witch Trials
Mary Chilton Winslow in “The Landing of the Pilgrims” by Henry Bacon
English law severely limited the rights of women in the colonies. Both men and women had great pressure on them to marry. Marriage was mostly for economic benefits, not romantic situations. Once married, a woman’s property became her husband’s. A woman could not enter into any legal contract without her husband’s consent. Husbands were responsible for all aspects of their wife’s life, including discipline. Governor Winthrop didn’t have much respect for women in his community, demanding that they “not meddle in such things that are proper for men to manage,” claiming that for women to remain “virtuous” they had to submit to male authority.
Widows were also pressured to get remarried as soon as possible. Some colonies proposed that would force widows to marry within 7 years after their husband’s death. Widows, however, were often married within a year if not sooner. A widow had more legal freedoms and could even vote in some circumstances. A widow could own property, but she would only be allowed to retain 1/3 of her husband’s property.
Most women in the colonies were socialized (in England and here) to perpetuate the patriarchy, and one Virginia woman explained, “one of my first resolutions I made After marriage was never to hold disputes with my husband.” Even though social custom and legal codes prohibited women from voting, holding office, attending public schools or colleges, and so on, circumstances did occasionally lead to women in positions of leadership. Eliza Lucas Pinckney ( ), horticulturalist. Usually, though, women who showed power in a public forum ended up suffering for it.
Anne HutchinsonAnne Hutchinson is a woman to be admired by any of us who believe in the rights of the individual to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship.Anne HutchinsonAnne Hutchinson is a woman to be admired by any of us who believe in the rights of the individual to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom to worship. Anne Hutchison quarreled with Puritan leaders regarding God’s intentions for the “covenant of grace” so desired by Puritans. She led an unofficial church discussion group. She criticized some of the local ministers in Boston for his lack of devotion, calling them “godless hypocrites, deluded and incompetent.”
Her arrest and subsequent trial in 1637 stands as a benchmark for early women’s rights and the quest for freedom of expression that would come into play later in America’s growth. Governor Winthrop banished her in 1638 as a woman “not fit for our society.” Local residents blamed her subsequent stillborn child as God’s way to punish her for her sins of rebellion.
In 1710, the colonial assembly equated women with minors and those "not of Sound mind" in an act specifying requirements for obtaining legal title to land. African American women were subjugated far more severely; they were the property of their male slave owners, as were their children. African religions seemed less inclined to subordinate women, with women often serving as religious leaders. Efforts to sustain their original religions upon arriving in the Colonies were mixed: settlers wanted the slaves to be Christian, but did not want to give their slaves the power by encouraging them to read.
Home life and responsibilities During the 18th century, the women’s role and work was extremely difficult and exhausting. A woman’s full time job was homemaking: to cook meals, make clothing, and doctor their family on top of cleaning, making household goods to use and sell, taking care of their animals, maintaining a fire and even tending to the kitchen gardens. Middle class and wealthy women also shared some of these chores in their households, but they often had servants to help them. Trad e netw orks and the devel opm ent of local indus tries mea nt that peop le coul d buy more good s. Im porta tion acts limit ed the colo nies' direc t trade with othe r coun tries but the New Engla nd colo nies had acces s, thro ugh Engla nd, to diver se good s from arou nd the worl d. Tin- glaze d eart hen ware dish mad e in Holla nd, c B u y U s e d U s e d - G o o d S e e d et ai ls S e d et ai ls S el le r: B o o k s b y B er tr a m B o k s b y B er tr a m C o n d it io n : U s e d - G o o d C o m m e n t: N O m ar ki n g s in te xt b ut m a y h a v e li g ht s h el f w e ar,i n s cr ip ti o n, cr e a s e d c o v er s, et c. $ & el ig ib le fo r F R E E S u p e r S a v e r S h i p p i n g o n o r d er s o v er $ 2 5. D et ai ls D et ai ls F ul fil le d b y A m a z o n F ul fil l m e nt b y A m a z o n ( F B A ) is a s er vi c e w e of fe r s el le rs th at le ts th e m st o re th ei r p r o d u ct s in A m a z o n' s o w n w ar e h o u s e s, a n d w e di re ct ly p a c k, s hi p, a n d p r o vi d e c u st o m er s er vi c e fo r th e s e it e m s. S o m et hi n g w e h o p e y o u' ll e s p e ci al ly e nj o y : F B A it e m s q u al if y fo r F R E E S u p er S a v er S hi p pi n g a n d. If y o u' re a s el le r, y o u c a n in cr e a s e y o u r s al e s si g ni fi c a nt ly b y u si n g F ul fil l m e nt b y A m a z o n. W e in vi te y o u to le a r n m o r e a b o u t F u lf ill m e n t b y A m a z o n. le a r n m o r e a b o u t F u lf ill m e n t b y A m a z o n o r Si g n in to tu r n o n 1 - Cl ic k o r d er in g. Si g n in 3 5 u s e d & n e w 3 5 u s e d & n e w f r o m $ S e Al l B u yi n g O pt io n s H a v e o n e to s el l? S el l y o u rs h er e S el l y o u rs h er e S h ar e
Patriarchy + fear of a new location (and fear of natives) = discontent When problems arose in the colonies, it was not uncommon for local women to be blamed; many were accused of witchcraft. als/salem/salem.htm
Conclusion The trauma of the Salem Witch Trials and the prodigious hysteria which ensued was not limited to Salem, Massachusetts. The widespread panic throughout New England reflected the latest outlet for old prejudices (and new fears)
Women and Religion in the Colonies Puritans arrived in the colonies with their patriarchical Intentions already well-established. The religious intolerance they showed spurred the growth of several other colonies in New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The Quakers who dominated the population of Pennsylvania offered to its women a far more equitable kind of Christianity. Quakers viewed women as equal to men and “allowed them” authority in meetings and within the community.